Women in Wind at EU Sustainability Week 2019 


GWEC took part in a panel session on gender equality in the clean energy transition on Wednesday 19 June 2019, as part of a panel organized for EU Sustainability Week.

GWEC Policy and Operations Director Joyce Lee was joined by Paula Abreu Marques (center in the photo above), Head of Renewables & CCS, Directorate-General for Energy at the European Commission,  Rabia Ferroukhi (left in the photo above), Director Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre at IRENA, Teresa Luis Ruiz (second from right in the photo above), Head of Endesa Brussels’ Office, and Chair of weclub in Brussels and Faustine Gaymard (right in the photo above), who works in public affairs at Akuo Energy.

Over the course of 80 minutes, there was a lively discussion about how the energy sector could actively support gender equality in policy development and implementation of the clean energy package. 

There was a high level of engagement from the audience, who raised challenges about how the panel was defining gender, how workplace policies often failed due to culture or faulty delivery systems, and how access to finance and technology remain key areas of high inequality.

Hierarchies of power and gender norms are highly influential in determining energy access and workforce participation. There is a particular challenge (which also gets at an important debate in feminist discourse about intersectionality) for ethnic minority women from the Global South. We think of climate change as a problem to be solved through STEM solutions and international collaboration at the highest level, but both of these entail a bias to West-based institutions of governance, education and R&D – leaving those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change with less influence. For women to become agents of change in the energy transition, we must integrate more voices of women outside these mainstream institutions.

The session also addressed how women’s participation in the sector could be advanced through awareness initiatives, capacity-building training, community-based dialogues, women-focused professional networking bodies and the deployment of targets/quotas where sensible.

All photos courtesy of: EUSEW 2019, Belgium – Brussels – June 2019, © European Union.

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